CPAP Cleaning Tips – Why You Should Not Sleep With A Dirty Mask

In Sleep Disorders by JGrahamLeave a Comment

CPAP Cleaning Tips

Recently, I have been dealing with some upper respiratory issues, which had seemed to last for months.  After a little research, I may have found the culprit.  I can be a little lazy, okay, I’m lazy when it comes to CPAP cleaning. But no more!  It’s not wise to let the creatures and bacteria grow in there.  Not only that, it’s just kinda nasty to let your snot and all that other good stuff dry up in there.  All it takes is a few simple steps, and some getting used to. You need to get yourself into the routine of regularly cleaning your CPAP, as you will learn,  can save you a lot in the long run. Below is an overview of the importance of CPAP cleanliness I also have some daily and weekly CPAP cleaning tips.


Simple, your nose and mouth are gross.  For some people, this is not particularly a problem. But, your sebaceous glands secrete this oily, waxy substance called sebum (Latin: fat, tallow) that is made of triglycerides, wax esters, squalene, and metabolites of fat-producing cells. Its main purpose is to waterproof and lubricates the skin.  This stuff can build up where the mask touches the skin, which can cause the cushion to change shape and lead to leaks and tears.  And if you’ve ever had a leaking mask, you know how freaking annoying it is to have a constant stream of air blowing in your eye all night.

You have multiple sources of moisture moving through your mask; things like mucus, warm mouth and nose air condensation, moisture from the heated humidifier. If the mask or tubing doesn’t dry out soon enough after use, it could possibly create an environment for bacteria or molds to grow.  Even if those bacteria do not flourish…Eventually it just flat out stinks.


Every morning, you usually shower, brush your teeth, or have some form of an established routine.  It would only make sense to add rinsing off and hanging up your gear as part of that routine.

If time allows you can fill a sink with warm soapy water, using a mild detergent.  And swish the mask around, and wash it like you would wash your face.  Wipe the mask area, being sure to get the parts that rest on your skin. It will remove dead skin cells, oils, or perspiration from the mask and help it seal to your face better at night.

If you are in a time crunch. you can use moistened towels, specially designed for cleaning CPAP masks, if you prefer.  They are just as effective, just doesn’t give the deep clean that some people would want.

Afterward, allow the mask to dry in air.

Empty out the humidifier rather than leaving standing water in the unit. Before going to bed, refill it with distilled water to get the best results.


If you have a CPAP then yes!  Read this article to get a better understanding of why this is important. I have found that when I have a stuffy nose, the CPAP actually kind of help deal with the symptoms by pushing everything out of my nose.  But, I’m sure it’s different for other people.  But I digress, If you are sick, you especially need to make sure that you clean your CPAP every day so no germs are in the tubing, humidifier, mask, and filter.  Doing this will help you along with your recovery.


Once a week you should consider giving your CPAP a thorough detailing.

You may place the hose, mask, and headgear, into a clean sink of warm water and a mild ammonia-free dish soap. Then, with a swirling motion, allow the parts soak in the water for few minutes, rinse, and air dry them naturally during the day.

Let the water drip out by hanging the hose on any elevated surface, like your shower rod. You can decide to hang up the headgear and mask or let them air dry on a dry towel.

The CPAP machine can also be wiped down with a moistened towel;  make sure it is not dripping wet but moistened because you want to avoid water getting into the device.

If there is a humidifier in your unit, drain all the water and then rinse out the container with warm soapy water. After that, rinse it thoroughly and let it flow as much as possible. Allow it to air-dry before putting into the chamber back to the CPAP machine.

Disinfection should be done weekly to sterilize CPAP machines as well.

How do I clean my CPAP naturally


Vinegar works well as a natural disinfectant if you can get past the residual smell it leaves behind. I will usually disinfect with vinegar as part of my weekly routine.  The only problem I can find with using vinegar is it’s not a very good degreaser so it doesn’t do well with removing facial oils.   Use a 1 part vinegar to about 10 parts water for washing my hoses and nasal pillows.  Let them soak for a little bit and rinse thoroughly.

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